Graduate Study at the Dept of Chemical and Biomolecular Eng, University of Houston

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Houston (UH) is one among the best ChE Departments in the United States of America. The department started its undergraduate programme in 1949 and the graduate doctoral programme in 1958. Apart from being situated at the heart of the energy capital of the world (Houston), the reputation of its faculties and researchers helped gain this department a place among the top 20 ChE departments in USA (National Research Council (NRC) ranking 2010). The department has outstanding faculties who are highly reputed for their expertise in relevant fields. The Department of Chemical Engineering has contributed greatly in producing engineering professionals for more than 60 years.

Overview of the Department

The ChBE department has 17 fulltime faculties, 10 affiliated faculties, 7 adjunct faculties and 4 research faculties. The student body includes around 300 undergraduate students and 90-95 fulltime graduate students (mostly PhD students). Each year on average 18 new graduate students enroll into the department. The total annual research expenditure of the department is about $3.5 million, and is growing successively [1].


Based on data from 2005, the chemical engineering Ph.D. program of UH has placed 18th in the country in the NRC’s survey-based rating, which measures a program against standards set by members of its discipline (NRC ranking 2010) [2]. The PhD program offered by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE) has been ranked even better (13th in USA) in the NRC’s research activity evaluation, which factored in publications, citations, the percent of the faculty holding research grants, and recognition of scholarship as evidenced by honors and awards [2].


The ongoing research projects in this department encompass variety of chemical engineering and biomolecular engineering fields.The major research strengths of ChBE department include biomolecular engineering, nano-materials, environmental reaction engineering, energy engineering, polymer engineering, engineering design, and transport & separation processes.

Biomolecular Engineering:

Several research groups are extensively working to engineer small biomolecules mostly proteins, and to find out engineering pathways to formulate substances that can be produced from biological organisms. In the biomolecular engineering field, many research projects are based on human health issues. Most of the biomolecular research projects have extensive collaborations with different renowned medical centres in USA, such as: University of Tennessee Medical Center, University of Texas Health Science Centre, and Baylor college of Medicine, etc. Researchers of ChBE department also have strong collaborations with National Laboratories around USA.  Two faculty members of ChBE were recently featured in the Science magazine for their exclusive research.

Energy Engineering:

The University has one among few energy research parks in USA which contributes to research in energy field extensively. There is a diesel centre, administered through ChBE Dept that offers facilities to work on the novel technologies for motor vehicles which are related to pollution prevention and economic fuel consumption. The projects involve reactor design, catalyst design and simulation and also synthesis to ensure pollution prevention from vehicles.


There are groups involved in researching nanomaterial synthesis and novel product design. One of the groups is associated with plasma science research for etching purposes and which will be useful in nano and micro-electronics industry.

Graduate Student Admission & Funding:

Graduate students admitted in the ChBE Dept. at UH are generally for PhD programme. There are limited MS positions; however, a student with high CGPA and high GRE score can try to enroll into MS program. After completion of the MS degree, one can pursue for post-graduate degree in UH or other universities.

In the year of 2010, 25 graduate (all PhDs) students enrolled into the ChBE department, of which 22 were international students. All of the graduate students were fully funded and the financial aid package was attractive: $22,000 per year; without tuition and other fees. Graduate applicants with exceptional records were offered Presidential Fellowships [3]. All the PhD students are also offered Departmental Fellowships.

For the admission purposes, the official requirements are: CGPA 3.00 or above in a scale of 4.00 and minimum GRE score 1200; however, an applicant with a CGPA of 3.50 and GRE score of 1250 is well-qualified for getting into PhD programme. Extra-curricular activities and higher percentages may add up to the credentials required to obtain a Fellowship. The details of the application procedures can be found at the departmental website [4].


[1] 2005-2007 Department Report, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of HOUSTON.

[2] The Chronicle of Higher Education; NRC Rankings Overview:; Cited: 22 January, 2011.

[3] University of HOUSTON: CULLEN COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING; Presidential Fellowships:

[4] University of HOUSTON: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering; Application Material for International Students:; Cited: 22 January, 2011.

** Disclaimer: This article does not represent the official statement of the corresponding university/department. This article is designed to facilitate potential students who want to pursue for higher education in world class universities.


To cite this article, please use following information:

(use the given format or any standard citation format)

Aich, A., Graduate Study at the Dept of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, University of Houston, ChE Thoughts 2 (1), 38-39, 2011.


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